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What Inspires Me: The Play on Words

Reality Bites circa 1994

Know How to Use Words.

There’s a reason Ethan Hawke’s character in Reality Bites elicited quite the fan base in myself and others of the Gen-X era. Sure, he was a slacker – jobless yet elitist – but the guy had a way with words. His impromptu phrase, “You have reached the winter of our discontent,” as he answered a phone call still stands out as an example of great wit and an appropriate play on words for his character.

The play on words just does it for me. I don’t care what your social status, educational level, title, or political persuasion is; if you can play on words like nobody’s business, you pretty much have my ear. If you’re that good, you may live in my brain’s creative reservoir until I shuffle off my mortal coil.

And let’s not trifle with the obvious… today you must be good with words. With so much communication from so many millions now engaging in an eternal online conversation where anyone has opportunity to bend anyone else’s ear, you must know words.

I dial back to yet another date-stamped cinematic example of why words are my inspiration. In the film With Honors, Joe Pesci’s character is a homeless man who leaves a lasting impression on four college students. As they are reading his self-written eulogy over his grave, he observes one thing about each of the four. The best one, in my humble opinion and regardless of the note not being about the main character, was directed to Patrick Dempsey’s character Everett Calloway, “who knows how to use words.”

I’ll take a footnote of that caliber on my tombstone, TYVM.

Are you inspired by those who know how to use words? Drop some names (& links!) below so we can all be inspired!